DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2007                                            PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                                                           PHONE: (409) 839-2538
                                                                                                                      CELL: (409) 553-9881



Lawyers from Beaumont and Lufkin receive National Recognition

BEAUMONT, TX – Assistant United States Attorneys JOSEPH R. BATTE, of Beaumont, and JOHN MALCOLM BALES, of Lufkin, were honored today at the Justice Department’s 55th Annual Awards Ceremony at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., along with 191 Justice Department employees and 26 other individuals. Batte and Bales were honored today for their extraordinary assistance in the prosecution of a major shipping company for deliberate vessel pollution.

“Today’s award recipients are extraordinarily dedicated and talented men and women,” said Peter Keisler, Acting Attorney General. “They’ve made incredible sacrifices, and achieved great successes, working on the front lines of the Justice Department on behalf of the American people. I’m proud to have them as my colleagues as we work to advance the Department’s mission.”

Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. (OSG) was sentenced on June 20, 2007 in Beaumont, Texas to pay $10 million as part of a $37 million criminal settlement with the United States involving 33 felony counts, 12 oil tankers and ports located in Beaumont, TX, Boston, MA, Portland, ME, San Francisco, CA, and Wilmington, NC.  The Overseas Shipholding Group Team was presented with the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for its outstanding achievement in obtaining the largest-ever criminal penalty in a case involving deliberate pollution from ships and the intentional falsification of ship records. Members of the team include, from the Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, Gregory F. Linsin, Special Litigation Counsel; Richard A. Udell, Senior Trial Attorney; Malinda R. Lawrence, Joseph A. Poux, and Lana N. Pettus, Trial Attorneys; Lois M. Tuttle, Paralegal Specialist; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, Jonathan F. Mitchell, Assistant U.S. Attorney; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Dorothy C. Kim, Assistant U.S. Attorney; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Banumathi Rangarajan, Assistant U.S. Attorney; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas, Joseph R. Batte and John M. Bales, Assistant U.S. Attorneys; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine, Richard W. Murphy, Assistant U.S. Attorney; and from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, Stacey P. Geis, Assistant U.S. Attorney.

"I would like to congratulate Joe and Malcolm for this deserving honor and thank them for bringing distinction to our district," said John Ratcliffe, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.  "Their recognition for this award underscores the fact that some of the best federal prosecutors in the nation work right here in the Eastern District of Texas."

            The total $37 million penalty is the largest-ever involving deliberate vessel pollution and was announced on Dec. 19, 2006 in Boston. The charges involving 12 OSG oil tankers range from June 2001 to March 2006 and include violations of the Clean Water Act, as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, conspiracy, false statements, and obstruction of justice.  In pleading guilty, OSG admitted that it deliberately falsified the Oil Record Book of various ships, a required log in which all overboard discharges are to be accurately recorded, made discharges at night, and concealed bypass methods used to circumvent required pollution prevention equipment during U.S. port calls so that the Coast Guard would not discover the criminal activity. 

The Attorney General’s Annual Awards Ceremony provides an opportunity to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of a number of U.S. Department of Justice employees as well as individuals from outside the Department.

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